'Green lane' for fully vaccinated travelers to PH eyed

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 25) — The Department of Tourism is pushing for a policy that will reduce the quarantine period of fully vaccinated travelers to the Philippines to spur the tourism industry.

In an interview with CNN Philippines' The Source on Tuesday, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said her agency is proposing a "green lane" policy for vaccinated foreign tourists as well as returning Filipinos to gradually revive the economy under safe conditions.

Puyat said the DOT has been observing the travel protocols of some Asian countries like Thailand and Hong Kong, that are gradually reopening to foreign travelers as well.

"In Thailand, if you’re fully vaccinated, it's down from 10 days to 7 quarantine days...In Hong Kong, it's also down from 21 days also to 7 days for fully vaccinated but coming from certain countries. So, we were thinking that if other countries are already doing it, it also should be discussed with the Department of Health, the health experts," she said.

Under the current quarantine rules in the Philippines, incoming travelers must undergo a 10-day quarantine in an accredited hotel or facility and another four days at home under the monitoring of their respective local government units. They must also undergo an RT-PCR test on the seventh day of their quarantine. 

Puyat also expressed hope that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases will soon allow travel from the NCR Plus bubble to other provinces outside the restricted zone after getting tested negative for COVID-19.

"We are hoping by June 1 payagan lahat, basta may test for all (We are hoping those from all other areas will be allowed to go out, as long as everyone will be tested before their travel)," she said.

Currently, staycations in accredited Metro Manila hotels are allowed for guests aged 18 to 65. Travel is also allowed, but only within the NCR Plus bubble.

The NCR Plus area, which includes Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, is under general community quarantine "with heightened restrictions" until the end of the month.